After a month in Arequipa

Currently Reading: Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa.

I am slightly suffering from xanga nostalgia. My old xanga account still receives regular visitors even though I have stopped writing for months now. WordPress is always empty. Basically, I am torn between my desire to keep my thoughts away from people and my tendency to share, discuss and network.

Last night, I went to a salsateca club on Dolores. Caroline’s friends from UNSA and about seven of us danced till almost 1:00 am. So far, I have never been to a club or a dance class without hearing them play Calle Ocho! Clubs on Dolores are more socioeconomically diverse, unlike Forum, the nicer club in El Centro, the central district. Each day, I love Latin America more and more. Like in La Zona in Quito, Dolores was packed with young and old folks clubbing relentlessly.

When I applied for the study abroad program, my school had warned the students to be careful with the way we dress because Arequipa is a fairly conservative city. When I arrived, I had culture shock, not because Arequipeños are conservative, but because they are by far more open than Rangooners. Peruvians seem to be a lot more comfortable with ways of living that will definitely shock my Asian grandmas. That also happens to be exactly what I love about Latin America. Unlike in the States, Peruvians have a solid cultural identity. Unlike in Myanmar, the social rules here in Peru are a lot less suffocating and a lot more direct.

There is also very little concept of planning here. My host mom would knock on my door five minutes before she decides to invite me to a birthday party, for example. I can easily deal with polychronic cultures here in Peru probably because I am only taking one Davidson level class and having a lot less homework. It’s so much less stressful than taking Michael Branch’s class and Dr. Crandall’s International Political Economy classes within the same semester.

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